Today is the day when I get out of the way and let you write. I am sending you off with pockets full of brainstorming and tips for writing long and strong, culled from years of doing this work. You have a vast amount of material to work from because these are your experiences, and you also have these resources:
your story of a friendship pre-writing,
the voice portrait you drew of the friendship,
mini-lessons on introductions and writing weird, I remembers, and even using poetry in prose,
advice on the many ways you can structure the narrative -- as a story or as an essay,
your peer feedback letter, and
the assignment and rubric, listed on Friday’s blog.
Today I urge you to reread these resources. I urge you to use everything you know about narrative and theme writing. Your first draft might not be perfect (first drafts never are), but it will be a start. I will have a one-on-one conference with each of you tomorrow.
1) Complete rough draft of the story of a friendship is due at the beginning of class tomorrow; I suggest scoring yourself tonight, using the rubric for the assignment. The story of a friendship assignment and rubric are here.
2) As you come up to my desk for a conference tomorrow, please have your bookmark for chapters 8 and 9.Please find and open up the questions on chapters 5-7 and 8-9 in The Boys Who Challenged Hitler; please have those questions ready at the beginning of class, too, so that I can assess them, along with the bookmark.
Describe a vivid detail from this weekend. Vivid details also are essential in your personal narrative. Readers also remember colors - the green shutters at the Olde Sturbridge Village Towne House.
Review Friday’s principles of personal narrative with one or two student models that start fast and develop an impression of the friendship right away.
Listen in on a mini-lesson on principles of the personal narrative, and then read your partner’s draft and write a peer review note which incorporates four or more of the principles:
“This is who you and your friend are:_____”
“As I analyze your experiences, what seems most important to convey is_____”
“The most vivid event(s) I read so far are______”
“The most vivid impression, theme, or concept I see is_____”
“This text is utterly you because____” (voice)
“This text feels story-like because it______”
“This text feels essay-like because it______”
“This text has succeeded in being weird because_____”
“This text has a great seesaw between big and small moments when_____”
“My name is called by your anecdote about_____, and I need more_____”
“Where’s the mystery in the topic or idea about_____?”
“What don’t you know about the topic of______”
“I see that there was/is character change when______”
“I see you comment on the social issue of _______”
“I see that you are teaching the lesson of______”
“The intro starts fast with_____ and in the intro there is foreshadowing of______”
HW Eng: Continue drafting for 30+ minutes as you incorporate peer review feedback from your partner’s note. You should have your partner’s note in your binder, actively read it over, and act on the partner’s feedback, suggestions, and intuition because the note was written with the principles of personal narrative in mind. Those principles are on today’s blog entry.
Discuss what is easy and hard about the story of a friendship.
Mini-lessons and pointers for success:
Write from the point of view that continues the narrative -- if the story starts in I, continue writing in I. If the story starts with he, she, or they, continue writing in he, she, or they. For example, The Seven Keys of Balabad is written with "he," and Fahrenheit 451 also is written with he/she.
A great personal narrative has an intro that starts fast as it gives an impression of the friendship right away; it gives lots of details in the body, and has a sense of reflection.
Always stay clear on exactly what the specific narrative assignment is asking you to do. Each narrative task is a little different - here is the assignment and rubric for the story of a friendship, for example.
Share with the overall impression and concept you want to build about the friendship throughout the essay.
Remember Shelly? The Cincinnati Marathon picture gave an overall impression of showing up.
Read four types of intros which "start fast" as hooks and begin writing your story with your favorite type of intro.
Embrace writing risks.
Examples of writing 'risks' to embrace the weirdest (and truest?) stories embedded in your friendship story:
Write a series of 20 one-sentence paragraphs, each which starts I remember...and think about how even a couple of "he remembers" or "she remembers" can be adapted really well into a third person narrative written with he, she, or they.
We read Paul Auster's "Word Box," which is embedded into his story, Why Write. The short, short poem goes like this: The world is in my head / my body is in the world. I wouldn't recommend going into poetry on MCAS.
We wrote twenty-five sentences containing the names of you and your friend; on MCAS, think about how a couple of sentences which start with the same words are really powerful. Paul Auster wrote twenty-five such sentences about Charles Bernstein, and we read the first few: "Charles Bernstein is a poet. Charles Bernstein is a critic. Charles Bernstein is a man who talks. And whether he is writing or talking, Charles Bernstein is a trouble-maker. Being fond of trouble-makers myself, I am particularly fond of the trouble-maker designated by the words Charles Bernstein."
1) 15 minutes - Write and revise an intro that you love for the story of your friendship. Start fast! see the four "start fast" types of intros above and in your google drive shared folder to help choose the type you want to write.
2) 15 minutes - Write about the friendship in a way that takes writing risks to embrace the weirdest (and truest?) stories embedded in your friendship story. See the examples we discussed in class, above.
Finish up the literary party we started yesterday:
Pick a classmate’s name for an anonymous compliment and follow these guidelines as you write:
Five to six sentences on why you agree or disagree with the main idea your classmate shared on ideas in our book.
Give a nice compliment on something you have observed in class.
The story of a friendship personal narrative is due next Thursday, December 21, and we will work on many ways of writing your best personal narrative. Starting today, the goal is to simply start writing the story about the friend you did a lot of thinking and brainstorming on in the pre-writing.
HW Eng: Begin writing the story of a friendship as a first draft. Re-read your pre-writing, draw inspiration from your self-portrait, and tell the story in a doc called “Friendship 1 Last Name” in The Boys Who Challenged Hitler.
As you come in, please write your name on a piece of white paper and fold the paper. Bring it over to my desk. Next, write each classmate's name on a piece of paper, leaving some space between each. Today is a literary party! During our early release class period, you will talk with each classmate and read their impressions of chapters 5-9. As you circulate around the room, you will bring and discuss your theme writing. You can talk about our themes on art and friendship, and anything else that strikes you about chapters 5-9!
Bring your book with you, and turn to specific pages!
Bring your MacBook with you!
Enjoy the music as you talk!
Jot down an idea each classmate shares with you.
At the end of class, you will write an anonymous compliment to ONE classmate, and these telegrams will be delivered. Or, if we need more time, we will finish the party tomorrow and do the compliments then.
Now that you have written each classmate’s name down on a piece of paper, come on over and grab a Fruit Gem and start the party.
HW Eng: Your homework is to finish up any of the reading or writing on chapters 5-9, including the theme writing. They are here. Please also check your grade on the implicit/explicit allusion assignment by reading my comments on the google doc returned through Google Classroom.
Review, answer, and write questions related to our art and friendship themes in chapters 8 + 9 in The Boys Who Challenged Hitler.
Begin HW (due Wednesday).
HW Eng (due Wednesday)
1) Finish the brief responses to questions on chapters 8 and 9 if you did not finish them in class today. Remember, your answers are meant to be quick thoughts that cement your understanding of how art and friendship are popping up everywhere as themes.
2) Write for 30 mins to develop you and your partner theme writing started Friday. You will be writing about the aspect you developed in class yesterday.
Mini scavenger hunt: write ten adjective noun phrases.
Example: beauty director
Review, answer, and write questions related to our art and friendship themes in chapters 5, 6, and 7 in The Boys Who Challenged Hitler.
Return to the theme writing from Friday. Create and jot down an aspect of theme.
HW due Tuesday:
1) Finish the brief responses to questions on chapters 5, 6, and 7 if you did not finish them in class today. Remember, your answers are meant to be quick thoughts that cement your understanding of how art and friendship are popping up everywhere as themes.
2) Read chapter 8 + 9 in The Boys Who Challenged Hitler, recording impressions on art + friendship moments on the front and back of your bookmark as your read.
Examine a self-portrait of Chagall. Look at how he expresses his voice - his style and personality.
What is Chagall saying about himself? Complete these two statements as if you were the Chagall of this portrait.
Base the statement on the portrait, not on your own feelings
2. How do you know what Chagall is saying about himself? What evidence can you find in the picture that supports your statements? Now consider the question, how does he do that? How does Chagall control voice in his printing?
Now you try it:
Compare and contrast Van Gogh’s and Chagall’s self-portraits. Use the Venn diagram below to show how they are similar and different. Be certain to focus on the choices the artists made.
Turn in your self portrait of the story of a friendship moment.
HW Eng: Please follow these directions as you complete tonight's homework assignment, a voice lesson found here and shared via Google drive:
1. Make a copy of this document.
2. Save the document copy in The Boys Who Challenged Hitler.
3. Title the document "Voice Lesson Three First Name Last Name".
4. Read the assignment carefully.
5. Answer each part of each question. For example, question one has three questions within it, and each of those three questions should be answered.
How does Van Gogh express his voice - his style, or personality?
1. What is Van Gogh saying about himself? Complete these two sentences as if you were the Van Gogh of this portrait.
2. How do you know what Van Gogh saying about himself? What evidence can you find in the picture that supports your statements?
Now you try it:
Think about how you would paint a self-portrait of you and the friend you are writing about in your story of a friendship. What colors would you use? What expressions would you have on your face? How would you be dressed? What kind of background would you have? Would you have anything else in the picture beside you and your friend? What would these choices say about your friendship? Make a simple sketch of a friendship self-portrait, and write a few sentences describing what you would like your friendship portrait to look like.
HW: Finish your friendship self-portrait, and focus on using color and shape to express your voice - your personality, and your style. Write a few sentences describing what you would like your friendship portrait to look like. Bring it on Monday w/ The Boys Who Challenged Hitler and your choice book.
Do Now: Get out friendship timeline for a homework grade.
Further brainstorming - on your timeline, put a checkmark next to the friend you have known the longest, the friend you share hobbies and traditions with, the friend you share mutual interests with, the friend you feel the most similar to, the friend you feel the most different from…
Choose who you will write about and turn over the brainstorming sheet; write the friend’s full name, nicknames, and why you chose that person.
Save pre-writing as “Pre-writing Last Name” in The Boys Who Challenged Hitler folder
Time to start prewriting; go for abundant details + memories, written in complete sentences.
Tableau Time; see a few. We will continue them tomorrow.
HW: Finish prewriting questions in complete sentences which give an abundance of detail. One classmate asked about how many sentences to write for each question. Go for four complete sentences for each question.
As you come in, please drop off your thank you note at my desk, and then please get out your choice book. Drop everything and read your choice book.
Rehearsal for reader theater with tableau time.
A tableau is a freeze frame shot of a scene in a movie, play or book. Because you are reading the same choice book, you can create a tableau demonstrating the meaning of a section of the book.
Each person must represent a character or prop in the story. I will suddenly announce, “PLAY”! You then need to move the scene forward until I, or someone, yells, “CUT.”
Each character counts, but choose the most significant characters and props in the story for your book club member to play.
Introduce and begin the timeline for the story of a friendship...ideas to use on the brainstorm include what was shared in class:
Earliest memories of earliest friends
Daycare and nursery school
Older and younger siblings
My example was of friend N, who had red hair. We sat on the braided rug at his house and played the drums! We swam in his swimming pool, even after my younger brother had a scary fall at age two, into the pool. We talked about the Beatles as we got older, in elementary school, and he was always honest. Maybe that’s why he is a musician for little kids today!! This is the level of detail I want for each of the friends or friendship moments you brainstorm tonight.
HW Eng: It’s time to write a story of a friendship. Create a timeline of friendships from as early as you can remember, to the present, and jot down those friends you remember most vividly, including details and memories, that matter most. Bring The Boys Who Challenged Hitler and your choice book tomorrow, along with your timeline.